Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunger Games T-shirt Tutorial

Hunger Games T-shirts spray painted or foam brushed (KEEP CALM AND GET CINNA AS A STYLIST).
We foam brushed all of my hubby's shirt, but I spray painted the box and then foam brushed the lettering and sleeve detail.
In the coming months I am gearing up for a much more complicated tutorial for a birthday present I am trying to get together before May.  This is my dry run on figuring out how to do a tutorial for the first time.  I will have you know that I know about zilch about blogging, but I am trying really hard to learn. I wasn't expecting to do a blog on this so there are not enough pictures, I apologize for this ahead of time. So if this is helpful, let me know.  If you have tips, you can let me know that too, but please be gentle with me.  Here goes nothing!

I love new stories, and seeing good stories succeed in the mind-numbing garbage that Hollywood normally puts out for us to "enjoy."  Please don't misunderstand I love a good brain-veg every once in awhile, but what I really love to see is great storytelling.  With that in mind, I go out of my way to make sure that a story or movie I like gets all the attention it deserves  <we vote with our money people>.  So, naturally, I made my husband come with me and his sister to The Hunger Games midnight showing in shirts we made for the occasion. The great part is you can do this with anything, and I mean anything, you want. We took lines and shapes from our favorite book, but I am thinking about doing a Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon) shirt for my boy.

You will need a few things:
1. a T-shirt or some other kind of fabric
2. fabric paint (we found ours at Hobby Lobby) or spray paint (any store that has a hardware department)
3. freezer paper or vinyl
4. cardboard (we used a shoe box and an empty diaper box)
5. painter's or masking tape
6. exacto knife
7. foam brush
8. a good friend or at the very some good music

1. Make the stencil
Once you decide what you want on your fabric of choice you need a stencil.  Now if you have an awesome friend like I do, and she allows you to borrow her sillohette (or circuit), DO IT.  If you don't have one or know someone who does, may I suggest making friends with someone who does. If that isn't an option, don't throw this tutorial away yet!  You can still get what you want it will just take a little extra effort.  Freezer paper is now your best friend and an exacto knife is the enemy you have to make an alliance with to win the war. One of the girls we were with free handed the Mockingjay graphic onto the freezer paper. Dana over at MADE has a great freezer paper tutorial here.  Either cut out the stencil on vinyl with your nifty machine or cut it out of the freezer paper.  If you are doing the freezer paper method you will now iron your design to the fabric.  The vinyl people out there need to get your exacto knife, tweezers, seam ripper, whatever tool you need take out all the pieces of your stencil that will be painted.  If you are doing multiple colors on one stencil take out only the pieces you are going to be painting first.  So, this means that if it's going to be white, leave it on the stencil and if it will be black take it off.  This is what mine all look like.
This is the sleeve detail for each shirt.  If you don't recognize it, this is the graphic in the books at the beginning of each chapter.

2. Get the stencil on your fabric and Prep 
Alright, get that masking tape out and tape over your stencil.  Take the paper backing off of the vinyl, line it up where you want it, and stick it.  Carefully take off the tape; carefully because you want all the little middle parts of the letters (the tabs and bubble parts) to stay exactly where they are.  If you need to, use your tool of choice, just get them to stay.  (Obviously, if you are in the freezer paper camp you don't need to do this step.)

Now for a little prep.  Stick a piece of cardboard in between your front and back pieces of fabric.  Cover any part of the fabric that isn't going to be painted especially if you are spray painting.  Shake your paint.

 3. Paint Away
If you are going to paint it with fabric paint then get your foam brush out and dab it on the stencil.  Make sure that you cover all the space, even the edges.  You might need lots of paint to get the consistency you want, but remember the more you put on the longer you need to wait before you try to pull it off.  If you are going to paint with spray paint then spray in short bursts until it is the shade you want.  I originally wanted my entire shirt spray painted, but the white wouldn't show up in the stenciling very well.  We tried angling, straight on spray, and multiple coats.  It just wasn't giving me the look I wanted, so we improvised.  Don't be afraid if it doesn't work out the way you want it to; this is a process and there is some learning curve to it.

4. Dry time and remove stencil
Now this part may be hard, but wait.  DON'T TOUCH.  Let it dry for twenty minutes and then you can chemck.  If you don't get paint on your fingers then pull the stencil off using your fingers and an exacto eknife.  Get your friend's fingers involved and have them hold down your fabric so the stencil comes off easier.  Once all of the stencil is removed let your fabric dry for a few hours longer.

5. Set your paint
To set your paint, you need to iron your design on both sides of the fabric for five minutes.  Use a rag or towel between the iron and the paint so you don't get any paint on your iron.  I set my iron on setting 4.  Wash and dry and you are done.  If you chance to get some paint where it doesn't belong (I did twice), DON'T IRON IT.  After you set the rest of your design, use some stain remover, rub it in, wash and hope it comes out.  Both of mine worked out that way.  So there you go!  Five Hunger Games shirts ready for the midnight showing.  We had a great time, and I hope you find an event to make shirts for soon.  Enjoy!
The Hunger Games midnight showing.

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